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DIY Aesthetics Can Do Harm To More Than Just Your Appearance


Injecting yourself for the sake of saving a few bucks isn't worth the risk.

With the economic crunch causing people across the country to tighten up their belts, it's not surprising that at-home treatments are growing in popularity as people try to avoid the additional cost of visiting a physician. While people may accomplish a lower price point, they also run a significant risk of harm to themselves.

woman with a needle Injectables such as Botox, Dysport, and Juvederm, as well as dermatological treatments such as chemical peels require special training for proper use, as several women have found out. ABC's "20/20" reports tonight on DIY cosmetics and their dangers. "Alex," a paramedic, thought that she could handle giving herself the injections since she uses needles daily. She used a product that claimed to be a facial filler to plump up her wrinkles. She injected the product under her eyes and near her mouth, and felt fine at first. The next morning she woke up with huge bags under her eyes and a large pustule on her cheek.

Alex sought help from Dr. Jerome Potozkin of the Aesthetic Skin and Laser Surgery Center in East Bay, California. He was shocked at her appearance but warns that the results could have been worse. If she had been just a few millimeters off, she could have punctured her eyeball or hit a blood vessel, possibly causing blindness.

Alex purchased the product from a website called discountmedspa.com, based in Mansfield, TX. The site was owned by Laurie D'Alleva who also featured videos in which she injects herself to show others how to inject the products. When purchasing what they called "Freeze," meant to be similar to Dysport or Botox, the customer would receive a kit with two saline filled syringes and a vial of the product. The customer is then to simply watch the video which shows D'Alleva using the product and start injecting away.

Both Dysport and Botox carry a black-box label, meaning they have a risk of serious side effects. While the risk is low, there is concern that the toxin can spread and cause severe and even deadly respiratory problems. Both products belong only in the hands of a trained professional.

The Texas Attorney General filed charges against D'Alleva last week for the illegal sale of prescription drugs and the website is offline.